You hate to see it happen. Just kidding. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation board voted to kick Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner to the curb. He bared his opinions in a New York Times interview published on Friday. That caused a call to go out for an emergency meeting of the board. Next thing you know, Wenner’s out on his keister.
Wenner is promoting his upcoming book, “The Masters.” The book features interviews he conducted with the likes of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and others while he was running Rolling Stone. That should be harmless enough, right? Nope. In Biden’s America, free speech is under attack, even when it comes from a progressive. Fellow progressives turned on Wenner when he made remarks that paint him as a racist and a misogynist.
During the interview with the New York Times, addressed his decision to exclude interviews with women and black artists. It quickly got him canceled by the foundation’s board. Wenner said that women and black men are not as articulate as white men. That kind of response wasn’t going to be allowed to fly coming from Wenner.
“The people had to meet a couple criteria, but it was just kind of my personal interest and love of them,” he said, adding “Insofar as the women, just none of them were as articulate enough on this intellectual level.”
He continued, “Stevie Wonder, genius, right? I suppose when you use a word as broad as ‘masters,’ the fault is using that word. Maybe Marvin Gaye, or Curtis Mayfield? I mean, they just didn’t articulate at that level.”
“For public relations sake, maybe I should have gone and found one Black and one woman artist to include here that didn’t measure up to that same historical standard, just to avert this kind of criticism,” he told the outlet. “Maybe I’m old-fashioned and I don’t give a (expletive) or whatever. I wish in retrospect I could have interviewed Marvin Gaye. Maybe he’d have been the guy. Maybe Otis Redding, had he lived, would have been the guy.”
Cancel culture comes for all – even the 77-year-old co-founder of a liberal rag like Rolling Stone.
The irony of Rolling Stone co-founder Jann Wenner dismissing Black and female artists when he got the name of his magazine from a Muddy Waters song and the rock-n-roll genre he loves so much was created by Sister Rosetta Tharpe—a Black woman. pic.twitter.com/m1Z0FsTuTt
— Jenee Darden (@CocoaFly) September 16, 2023
I would suggest Chuck Berry, often called the Father of Rock and Roll, who was black. YMMV.
In light of Jann Wenner torching his legacy by declaring that women and Black artists are not articulate enough to be on the level of “Masters” (which, dogwhistle), here’s a video of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, arguably the inventor of rock and roll. https://t.co/PjBrlHPnE0
— The Theater Lovers | Will & Rachael (@theater_lovers) September 17, 2023
Wenner helped found the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1983, serving as chairman until 2020. His comments were called “self-serving” and poorly articulated in a “bad apology” as he tried to save his spot on the foundation’s board.
Nearly every board member on the call — including YouTube global head of music Lyor Cohen, music manager and executive Irving Azoff, former chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment Doug Morris and Creative Artists Agency managing partner Rob Light — voted to drop Wenner.
The only board member who voted in Wenner’s favor was John Landau, a music manager and former critic who wrote for Rolling Stone for years beginning with the inaugural issue in 1967.
After the board kicked him off, he issued a public apology through the publisher of his book, Little, Brown and Company.
“In my interview with The New York Times I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks,” Wenner said. “I totally understand the inflammatory nature of badly chosen words and deeply apologize and accept the consequences.”
The fall-out continues. He was pulled from an event that was to promote his book in conjunction with a literary festival later this month.
Wenner was due to speak at an event at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair in New Jersey on September 28. The event was being held in conjunction with the Montclair Literary Festival.
‘We are no longer hosting Jann Wenner on September 28, 2023. We will start processing refunds for all ticket purchasers now. They will be refunded back to the card used at the time of purchase. We thank you for your interest and apologize for the inconvenience,’ a simple message on the festival’s website reads.
The message was written by festival chair Marcia Marley.
When you’ve lost the Unitarian Universalists…
The fact that he only included white rock and rollers is controversial in today’s world. If the book only included black performers, I’ll bet the reaction would have been different. He wouldn’t have been asked about only including black performers. Good luck with those book sales, Jann.